(Bloomberg) – Hundreds of thousands of cattle have perished in floodwaters in Canada’s westernmost province, the British Columbia government said Thursday.
Consecutive floods of atmospheric rivers damaged major transportation routes, forced evacuations, and briefly isolated Canada’s largest port. The Sumas Prairie agricultural region, near the country’s third largest city, Vancouver, is one of the hardest-hit flood zones.
So far, 628,000 poultry have been reported dead, along with 420 dairy cattle and around 12,000 pigs. In addition, 110 beehives were submerged. More than 800 farms remain on evacuation orders, Lana Popham, the province’s agriculture, food and fisheries minister, told reporters on Thursday.
“The work of farmers, volunteers and businesses to clean barns and remove these animals continues to be extremely heartbreaking,” said Popham.
Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow funnels of tropical moisture that release enormous amounts of precipitation when it hits land.
Sumas Prairie is also home to about 700 acres of blueberry plantations, many of which have less than 8 feet (2.4 meters) of water. The full extent of damage to the blueberry crop will likely not be known for months.
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